Day six: Gutsan avoids the spesifics

Publish date: November 30, 1999

Written by: Siri Engesæth

"The prosecutor is talking about disclosure of state secrets in general," Aleksandr Nikitin said after today's court dealings. "He is not pointing out what the so called secrets are in the report."

Sixth day in the Nikitin trial:

On the sixth day in Court the two first witnesses were questioned. Retired Admiral Chernov also testified last year. The other was there only to confirm a trivial fact of no consequence.

“The only interesting thing today was the speech of Yevgeny Chernov,” said chief defender Yury Schmidt. “Chernov is an expert who clearly can document that this case contains no state secrets. He has carried out a thorough expert evaluation on the matter,” said Schmidt, who was a little concerned that the prosecutor may disregard Chernov’s testimony due to the fact that he is Aleksandr’s father in law. Chernov is a retired admiral who served at the Northern Fleet.

Schmidt added, “Chernov is a well-known and qualified witness. He and his colleagues have done an excellent job on analysing the points relevant to the case. Their findings were published last year. The Judge seemed interested and I would think he finds the work done by the admirals good.”

A visit at the library

The second witness, Galina D. Sopko, Schmidt described as absolutely uninteresting. “She worked at the library at the Kuznetsov institute and confirmed that Artemenko borrowed some books for Nikitin and later returned them. We have no objections to this fact and acknowledge completely that this is what happened. The prosecutor has summoned 20 witnesses like this – people who confirm facts we do not argue at all,” Schmidt said.

Luckily, Judge Golets seems less than eager to hear all of those highly unimportant witnesses. If all the prosecutor’s witnesses were to testify, the trial would drag on for the rest of the year.

“Sopko confirmed that I did not enter the library illegally and that is good,” Alexander Nikitin added.

Gutsan avoids the spesifics

“I would like to try and make a little analysis of what the prosecutor is trying to do,” said Aleksandr Nikitin. “The prosecutor’s questions to Chernov where unclear and blurred. I may be mistaken, but I believe all the questions concerned the same point in the indictment.”

“The prosecutor is talking about disclosure of state secrets in general,” Nikitin continued. “We, the defence and I, try to lead the talks on to the specifics – specific submarines, specific reactors etc. For example Gutsan asked, ‘can the details of a reactor influence the running of a submarine?’ Of course we can answer yes, but if the question had been more specific we could have answered specifically. So, the prosecutor is not asking concrete questions, had he asked specifically we could have reputed him. He does not bring anything new into the case, he only repeats the vague statements that are in the indictment.”

President of Bellona, Frederic Hauge, comments on the development by saying it is time for Procurator Gutsan to show his cards. “This case is more ridiculous than ever. We know that the procurator doesn’t have any cards. In fact, he is wasting the time of an already overloaded city court by running this case,” he stated.

Present at the briefing today was several journalists and representatives of the consulates of Canada, Germany, Norway and U.S.A.